“This is a story about books. About accursed books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about a betrayal of a lost friendship. It’s a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind.”
–Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
The opening scene begins with our main character, Daniel, and his father visiting the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Reading this scene, I knew straight away that I was going to fall in love with this story. I also knew that I wished I could read Spanish just so I could read this in its native form. The writing enraptured me. Carlos Ruiz Zafon can write, let me tell you. Just from reading this scene, I knew I was going to need a notebook to write down all the beautiful quotes. I got chills reading this scene. Not even exaggerating. It has to be one of the best openings to a book that I have ever read. I’m seriously in love with this story. This may be more of me just going on about how much I love this book than an actual critical review. I just don’t have the words to describe how spectacular this book is. I am speechless. The Shadow of the Wind may just be my favorite book of all-time. “Clara Barcelo stole my heart, breath, and my sleep.” This book did the same for me.
This book starts off slowly. It is not a fast-paced book, but it is so worth the read. It centers around the mysterious novelist, Julian Carax, who no one seems to know what really happened to him, or why all of his novels have been sought out and burned. Daniel finds Carax’s novel, The Shadow and the Wind in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and falls in love with it and protects it from the book-burning entity. His love for this book leads him to delve into the mystery of Julian Carax, intertwining their lives forever.
There are so many quotes from this book that I just need to share. These were my favorites:
“In this place, books no longer remembered by anyone, books that are lost in time, live forever, waiting for the day when they will reach a new reader’s hands. In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.”
“A secret’s worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept.”
“We exist as long as somebody remembers us.”
“The moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you’ve already stopped loving that person forever.”
“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
“What destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.”
“Those who really love, love in silence, with deeds and not with words.”
“Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.”
“Making money isn’t hard in itself. What’s hard is to earn it by doing something worth devoting one’s life to.”
“One loves truly only once in a lifetime … even if one isn’t aware of it.”
“A story is a letter the author writes to himself.”
“So long as we are remembered, we remain alive.”
If this review doesn’t convince you to read this book, I don’t know what will. Please. Read this book! You will not regret it.
5 out of 5 stars!